New $1 tax on cigarettes to take effect Friday in New York
Buying a pack of cigarettes gets more expensive as of Friday in New York state. The state will impose another $1 in taxes per pack, raising the tax from $4.35 to $5.35 per pack. That brings the average retail price of a pack to more than $12 in many stores.
Mike Seilback, National Assistant Vice President for state policy for the American Lung Association, said they are pleased about the increase in a tax that has not gone up since 2010, and he hopes it persuades more New Yorkers to kick the habit.
“It’s a new incentive for current tobacco users to quit their addiction, said Seilback. “But it is also shown, via science, that raising the price of tobacco products makes it less likely that kids are ever going to start using those products.”
According to the American Lung Association, research shows a 10% increase in tobacco prices would result in a 4% decrease in tobacco consumption.
State health department data shows that 1 in 5 high school aged children uses tobacco products. While the new state budget this year authorized the higher cigarette tax, the state legislature did not agree on a plan to go along with Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposal to ban flavored tobacco products. Seilback said the American Lung Association would also like to see vaping products taxed at a higher rate.
“That we see E-cigarettes, cigars, other tobacco products, taxed, also at higher rates, because what we don’t want to see happen is that we continue to see the New York state smoking level decrease, but the vaping and other tobacco products use increase,” he said.
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network projects the higher tax would save the lives of 15,300 New Yorkers and prevent 14,400 youth under the age of 18 from becoming adults who smoke.
A trade group representing convenience stores in New York State has opposed the tax hike on cigarettes, saying that it will just send consumers to look for cheaper ways of obtaining cigarettes while hurting retailers.